“IF the gardaí hadn’t stopped him we don’t know what might have happened,” said Judge Alan Mitchell, sentencing to prison a Portarlington man who was caught on two different dates while out on bail with implements that could be used in the course of a burglary.
Last week’s district court heard that Michael O’Connor, with addresses listed at Ballymorris Manor and Station Grove, Port, was caught on one occasion with a length of hosepipe, which gardaí suggested was going to be used to syphon fuel from a vehicle.
Inspector Declan Dunne gave evidence that on December 1 last year, at Canal Road, Port, gardaí were alerted to a vehicle parked outside a house, where two men were observed throwing a length of hosepipe over the premises’ gate. The inspector said there was a truck parked on the other side of the gate and the men, one of whom was O’Connor, had such implements as a screwdriver, a chisel and a five gallon drum with them.
On February 10 this year, again at Canal Road, gardaí came across the defendant and O’Connor attempted to evade the officers. He was observed throwing something into a hedge, which Insp Dunne said was a homemade balaclava.
O’Connor was charged with two counts of having possession of certain articles with intent to commit a crime. He has 32 previous convictions, and was out on bail when he committed the latest offences. His solicitor, Mr Philip Meagher explained that his client is also facing charges in Tullamore and Letterkenny.
“His history of previous convictions speaks for itself,” admitted Mr Meagher. “He has a long-standing and entrenched drug habit and was on five to six bags of heroin a day.”
Mr Meagher said that O’Connor had received treatment in the past, but had relapsed and fallen into old ways.
“He was robbing to feed his habit,” said Mr Meagher.
Defence went on to say that O’Connor has since detoxed and “doesn’t know himself”.
“The gardaí, through their good work, stopped something that may have occurred,” he said.
Judge Mitchell agreed that, but for the gardaí, “we don’t know what might have happened”. He imposed two four-month sentences, consecutive.